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Eating 40g of cheese a day may reduce heart attack and stroke risk

Eating 40g of cheese a day may reduce heart attack and stroke risk

Cheese although notorious for its high-fat content and a high content of saturated fatty acids also contains lists of potentially beneficial nutrients.How long-term cheese consumption affects the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is unclear.

Dr. Guo-Chong Chen and associates conducted a meta-analysis of prospective studies to evaluate the risks of total CVD, coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke associated with cheese consumption. The researchers found that small portion of cheese consumption could actually reduce the risk of CVD.The study has been published in European Journal of Nutrition 

The researchers identified potentially eligible studies by searching PubMed and EMBASE databases and by carefully reviewed the bibliographies of retrieved publications and related reviews. The summary relative risks (RRs) with 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using the random-effects model.

In total 15 prospective studies were shortlisted. Most of the studies excluded prevalent CVD at baseline (14/15) and had a duration >10 years (13/15). The summary RR for high vs. low cheese consumption was 0.90 (95 % CI 0.82–0.99) for total CVD (7 studies, 8076 events), 0.86 (95 % CI 0.77–0.96) for CHD (8 studies, 7631 events), and 0.90 (95 % CI 0.84–0.97) for stroke (7 studies, 10,449 events), respectively. The restricted cubic model indicated evidence of nonlinear relationships between cheese consumption and risks of total CVD (Pnonlinearity < 0.001) and stroke (Pnonlinearity = 0.015), with the largest risk reductions observed at the consumption of approximately 40 g/d.

The researchers found a modest reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease, heart attacks and stroke, of around 10% among people who ate cheese.They also found that the biggest reduction in risk came from a daily portion of around 40g (1.4 oz), and that risk started to rise again when people ate larger amounts.

The study was based on 15 previous observational studies, carried out mostly in Europe and the US, which looked at the diet and health of more than 34,000 people. Because of the type of study, it’s difficult to prove cheese directly caused the reduced risk of heart attack or stroke. The link may be influenced by other health and lifestyle factors, such as exercise.

People are sometimes advised to avoid cheese because some types are high in saturated fat and a high saturated fat intake is linked to cardiovascular disease. This study adds to previous research suggesting that a modest amount of cheese may actually have nutritional advantages that balance out the fat content.

It’s important to note that even this study found no benefit to eating more than about 40g of cheese a day – about a matchbox-sized piece.

Low-fat cheeses (that contain 17.5g of fat per 100g, or less) may be the healthiest option for a “daily portion”.

The study is a meta-analysis of prospective observational studies looking at how cheese consumption was linked to overall cardiovascular disease or specific events like stroke.

A meta-analysis pools the data from different studies to give an overall result. Observational studies can highlight patterns, but cannot show that one factor (such as cheese consumption) directly causes another (such as the reduced chance of heart attack or stroke).

Dietary trials would be needed to show this, though they are notoriously difficult to organise in a real-world setting. It can be hard to recruit enough people and ensure they follow a set dietary intake for sufficient time to look at long-term health outcomes.

Researchers looked for studies that measured people’s consumption of cheese through dietary questionnaires, then followed them up to see what happened to them. They focused on studies that collected data on coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

For each of these outcomes, they compared reported “high” versus “low” daily cheese consumption, where “high” was around 40g a day. They then looked at the effects of cheese consumption by the amount (gram per day). They pooled the results and presented them as relative risk figures, although the per gram figures were presented only by the graph.

For further reference log on to : doi:10.1007/s00394-016-1292-z

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Source: With Inputs NHS Choice

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